February 2016

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City accepting applications for city council

MEDC appoints officers and authorizes project

A council divided?

Council member praises fire department

MEDC authorizes notice of project

Council races set: Hanson decides against re-election

Police Chief clarifies story

Alvin Community College requesting $88.5 million bond

 

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City accepting applications for city council

February 3, 2016

 

Manvel is accepting applications for two city council positions that will be decided on May 7.  The two seats up for election are the Place 4 seat held by Melody Hanson and the Place 6 seat held by Lew Shuffler.  Hanson has served four terms and is the senior member on council.  She currently serves as Mayor Pro-tem.  Lew Shuffler has served two terms after winning the council seat in 2011.  Neither incumbent has yet announced their intention of running.

 

Interested persons may file an application for a place on the ballot through February 19.  An election filing packet with pertinent information is available from the city secretary, Tammy Bell, and can be picked up from City Hall.  It also can be downloaded from the city’s website at http://www.cityofmanvel.com/159/Election-Information.  Elected officials in Manvel are elected at large and hold their office for a period of three (3) years.

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MEDC appoints officers and authorizes project

February 3, 2016

 

The Manvel Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) appointed their slate of officers for 2016 at their January meeting.  Karen Kinlaw was selected to continue as President, Janice DelBello as Vice President, and Melody Hanson as Secretary.  Kinlaw assumed the presidency last August upon the resignation of Bradley Gardner who desired more time to devote to his family and professional obligations.  All three appointed officers have been long time members of the Corporation and should ensure the continued smooth operation of the Board.

 

In other MEDC news, the January meeting saw one of the larger turnouts in recent memory as three projects were discussed.  After an outreach effort to property owners along Large Street returned four positive responses of likely development activity, the group voted unanimously to move forward with the installation of an 8” gravity sewer line that would run some 2300 linear feet from Spillane along Large Rd to the C1 ditch.  The project will include manholes and lift station improvement as required.  The availability of sewer capacity is expected to greatly improve the likelihood of development activity not only along Large, but also along both sides of SH 6.  Property owners have complained for years that insufficient infrastructure has limited or even prevented development east of Masters Rd (FM 1128). 

 

The project comes on the heels of another project approved by the Board in December and authorized by city council that will provide $410,000 towards infrastructure improvements at the School Road water plant and at a secondary facility on Corporate Drive.  The project will install new pumps at the School Road plant that will result in nearly a doubling of water flow available to current and future users of the city water supply.  The current pumps will be maintained and moved to the Corporate Drive facility where they will serve as booster pumps to improve the pressure and distance of the water flow directed east.  Also at the Corporate Drive location the city will have installed an underground storage tank.

 

Those improvements are expected to provide the city with ample capacity to accommodate likely users coming on line in future years.  MEDC’s consulting engineer estimates the increased capacity will provide 2200 water connections and projects the added volume will be sufficient for at least five years of currently contemplated demand.  The project will also make available a pressing need for a water supply to service the anticipated development of the Manvel Town Center at SH 288 and SH 6.  Negotiations are on-going between the developer and Kroger to locate a store at the northwest corner location.  Negotiations are also in progress between the developer and MUD 61, which services the Lakeland project, to provide temporary wastewater capacity to the site.  If both negotiations return satisfactory resolutions, Town Center developers estimate one year of construction so that the project could see completion in 2017.  An inability to reach an accord with either the city or MUD 61 would likely delay the project by one year as the development’s Municipal Utility District (MUD 42) would need that time to complete their utility infrastructure construction before the project could begin.

 

Improvements also funded by MEDC and completed earlier in 2015 will provide the piping required to carry both the water from the city’s plant and the wastewater from the Lakeland plant.  The Town Center developers will be required to continue the installation of the lines across 288 in order to service their project.  The City of Manvel stands to realize significant benefit from the arrangement.  The installation of the lines across 288 will make city water services available on the west side of the city with the cost being borne by the Town Center project.  Additional wastewater capacity from MUD 61, also to be funded by the Town Center project, would at some point revert to the city thereby providing wastewater capacity to additional future development. 

 

The MEDC entertained proposals from two other business ventures wanting to increase their presence and capacity in the city.  The well-known Manvel Seafood Restaurant requested assistance with the cost of water and sewer installation to service their proposed new location on SH 6 and Palmetto.  The restaurant is expected to utilize 7000 square feet and anticipates the employment of 30 people.  Like most infrastructure projects, other property owners will gain benefit from its installation too.  The MEDC will take up the issue again at it February meeting after the city’s engineer returns cost estimates for the project.

 

And the HCS Group, which recently acquired the Shu-Chem plant on the south side of SH 6 at CR 99, presented a request for the MEDC to fund the extension of a city waterline from its current termination at the ProBuid site to their property.  The request is for two phases, one consisting of approximately 2000 lineal feet at a cost of $375,000 that would extend the line to their current facility.  It will provide service to a $1 million rehabilitation of the current plant and a planned $14 million plant addition.  A second phase would extend the line an additional 1500 lineal feet at a cost of $275,000 with the intention of servicing a proposed business park to be located at the east end of the property from their current plant to CR 99.  The MEDC is expected to take up this project at its February meeting when, again, the city engineer returns with cost estimates.

 

Still another project percolating with the group is an extension of the just completed water/sewer line along the south side of SH 6.  The project would cost approximately $285,000 and would extend the infrastructure some 900 feet to the west, again opening up potential retail/commercial development along the city’s most busy corridor.  Holding back serious consideration of the project is the process of acquiring the necessary easements.  That process is on-going and MEDC members hope they will be able to revisit the project in the coming months.

 

As Manvel realizes increased interest from potential developers, the MEDC expects to see more requests for development assistance coming its way.  The group feels well positioned to help stimulate economic development in the city.  Last May voters approved the return of a full 1/4% sales tax allocation to MEDC.  One half of that allocation had been temporarily assigned to the city’s road department to meet what was, at the time, a more pressing need of the city.  But voters agreed that the city would be better served long-term with full funding of the MEDC, particularly in light of the city’s vastly improved financial condition as realized in recent years.  The current budget projects income in the next fiscal year (Oct 1 through Sep 31) to exceed $650,000.  That is more than double what was budgeted and realized in the last fiscal year.  The group enjoys a current fund balance approximating $1 million.

 

The MEDC is a volunteer group appointed by city council to promote, encourage, and support business development in the city.  Funding decisions are ultimately approved by city council and are determined with three primary goals in mind: delivering economic diversity, increasing the city’s productive tax base, and providing employment opportunities for its citizens.  Current MEDC projects are funded solely by a percentage of the city’s sales tax revenue.

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A council divided?

February 10, 2016

 

For months the city has eagerly anticipated the acceptance of a gift of land that formerly housed the Eddie’s Country Ballroom in north Manvel off of FM 1128.  For a city so deficient of parkland, the expectation of the addition to the city’s parks inventory was such that money was allocated in the current year’s budget to cover the costs of cleaning and preparing the site for public use.  Exact plans for the park remain undetermined but some discussion included using an established concrete slab as a foundation for an arena or large covered area for public gatherings.

 

Apparently expecting to merely pick up documents needed to move forward the transfer of the land to the city, Mayor Delores Martin and Council Member Melody Hanson drove together to visit the benefactor in Houston.  Upon arrival it became clear that there were second thoughts regarding the bestowal and additional conditions were pronounced.  Rather than an outright gift to the city, the owner desired instead the establishment of a family trust to hold the property for some period of time.  The city would maintain the park under the direction of a seven member operating board that would consist of four members from the family and three members appointed by the city.  The bestower wants to ensure the proper maintenance and utilization of the park and would after some determined period of time present outright to the city the title to the property.

 

This brief history provides the necessary background to explain the verbal altercation that ensued at this week’s council meeting.  Member Lorraine Hehn, upon learning of the jaunt by the Mayor and Member Hanson, felt their action inconsistent with the expectation of inclusion of the entire council in matters affecting the city.  She requested an executive session to discuss her concerns which was scheduled at the end of the regular council session.  Member Hanson, who clearly was miffed by the calling out from Hehn, requested the executive session be moved to the beginning of the meeting and asked that it be held in the open public forum rather than behind closed doors so that the public and the press could hear the discussion.  Mayor Martin agreed and Hanson went on with a five minute statement recapping the events much as summarized above.

 

Hanson emphasized in her statement that neither she nor the mayor participated in any discussion but merely listened.  She explained the gist of the conversation as the family wanting “assurance that their vision for a safe, beautiful community park would be maintained.”  Hanson continued: “At no point did the mayor try to bypass us as a council.  She was merely attempting to get important information to us.  Nothing clandestine occurred,” she claimed emphatically.  She clarified that a quorum was not present and no documents were exchanged.  “We agreed to nothing, we signed nothing, no bribes were offered or accepted, no gifts were exchanged.”  According to Hanson’s interpretation of the city charter, she declares, “we have done nothing wrong.  At no time did the city manager or the city attorney caution me not to attend.  I fail to see how this action warranted an executive session.”

 

Explaining that she has faithfully served on city council for six years, on the MEDC for longer than that, and given “countless volunteer time and taken time away from my family to serve on various boards for this city,” Hanson expressed her disdain for the criticism brought by her fellow council member Hehn.  She continued saying that she has always maintained complete transparency and has conducted herself with professionalism and integrity.  She said she is “forthright with my colleagues and with those with whom I serve.  I want to make it clear that I have nothing to hide.  That is why I called for this in open session.  Calling an executive session gives the impression that the mayor and I were involved in some sort of impropriety and I can tell you that that accusation is baseless.”  Hanson concluded her statement saying Hehn could have extended the courtesy of simply calling to learn the facts of what transpired and spared the bad feelings that now burden the council.  “If we as city leaders allow petty grievances such as this to continue, I can tell you that you are going to find it increasingly difficult to find qualified members to serve on this board.”

 

For her part, Lorraine Hehn emphasized the division among council as the motivating reason for her actions.  She explained that the executive session would have allowed the council to discuss something that would have encouraged unity among the group.  Admitting she did not dispute the facts of the incident, she emphasized her interest that council act more of one accord in how it operates and presents itself to the public.  No matter the facts, the reasons, or the motivation, she feels, “It looks and appears that two council people are representing us outside of this table.”  She chastised both the city manager and city attorney for not counselling them against the meeting.  She also criticized Hanson for taking the results of the meeting to the Parks Board, of which Hanson also serves, before council was made aware of the status of the land donation.  “Now we are apparently divided among the citizens.  We don’t have the same vision.  I believe it is improper for anybody on this council to represent all of us in any kind of meeting.  If it appears that way it is not good.”  Hanson responded with her view that a simple phone call asking what happened would have been a far better way for Hehn to encourage unity among council than was the calling of an executive session.

 

Argument back and forth between the two continued for quite some time, leading more than one audience member to wish the executive session had been conducted behind closed doors after all.  The underlying issue is one that has been debated before among council.  Mayor Martin has been criticized on more than one occasion for meeting independently with individuals either doing business with the city or desiring to do business with the city.  Not all consider that necessarily improper so long as shady dealings don’t result.  The mayor is perhaps the greatest cheerleader the city has.  She has been in office for more than a decade and has established invaluable relationships that have led to real benefits for the city.  As Hanson pointed out in defense, it was the mayor’s contacts and personal relationships that allowed the procurement of the many easements that were required along SH 6 that allowed the MEDC funding of the water and sewer lines to be installed.  It was a personal relationship that allowed the city’s acquisition of the sand pit on CR 58.  It was the mayor’s vision and contacts that led to the city’s acquisition of the current city hall building despite much opposition at the time.  Criticisms of the mayor have not been so much that she had “secret” meetings but more that the council was unaware of the meeting and the content of what was discussed.

 

It seems the lesson in the current fracas is that better communication is required, not only among council but also with the city manager and city attorney.  Member Adrian Gaspar suggested a good course of action that would be advisable for members to follow in similar situations: “Don’t do anything without the advice of the city attorney and if you go anywhere and if you even think something may go wrong, take the attorney with you.”  Member Lew Shuffler, who was part of the discussion via telephone, ended the discussion with a prescient comment that “this (should) not happen anymore, it just doesn’t look good for us as a city, it really doesn’t.”

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Council member praises fire department

February 17, 2016

 

Manvel city council member Adrian Gaspar and his family experienced the misfortune of a house fire last week that resulted in considerable damage to the rear deck and the kitchen and essentially has made the home uninhabitable.  The displaced council member and his family are now residing in an RV on the back of his property.   

 

Despite the adversity, Gaspar and his wife had nothing but praise for the Manvel Fire Department and credit their efficient and professional response to preventing a complete loss of their home.  The fire truck was on scene within a matter of minutes thanks to an alert neighbor seeing smoke and calling 9-1-1.  The neighbor fortuitously is a retired captain from Houston’s Fire Department and recognized that something was not right as he saw smoke from the rear of the house.  Attempts to use a fire extinguisher before the flames got out of control were unsuccessful due to the device failing.  The time required to find another extinguisher was enough for the fire to spread beyond the ability of a single hand-held extinguisher to help.  A garden hose was also attempted but quickly melted and it proved futile in slowing the spread of the flames.

 

Gaspar explained he watched the firemen work and credited their training to working like a well-oiled machine: “there was no hesitation, and they were like ants knowing where each one was going and what each had to do.”  He was impressed that the leader of the group, Steve DelBello, was fighting the fire right there with the other volunteers.  “He was getting his suit dirty and wiping his mask, he was right here with them.”

 

As hydrants are unavailable in that part of the city, the fire department had insufficient water on its truck to properly battle the blaze and requested a tanker be dispatched from Iowa Colony.  The tanker did arrive and provided the water necessary to contain the fire but only after being stopped by Manvel Police for running a stop sign.  Gaspar, who himself is a police officer for the City of Houston, took exception to that action as perhaps a bit of overreaction.  His characterization was actually more colorful and not suitable for publication.  Gaspar explained his view that an emergency vehicle seeing an intersection is clear “is not going to stop and then try to bring it back to speed.” 

 

Manvel’s fire department does not have a tanker of its own due to inadequate funding and Gaspar feels that unconscionable and suggests if necessary the city should “step up for the benefit of the people” and assist the ESD in meeting that need.  “You should not play politics with people’s lives, like it seems they are doing.  This whole thing is wrong.”  The Manvel Fire Department is part of the Brazoria County Emergency Services District (ESD) #3 and while Manvel property owners do pay a portion of their annual tax bill to the ESD, those funds are separate and apart from the city which has no jurisdiction over the emergency services.

 

The cause of the fire was not clearly determined but suspicion resides with a freezer on the back deck causing some sort of electrical malfunction.  The door of the freezer was actually blown completely off.

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MEDC authorizes notice of project

February 17, 2016

 

The Board of the Manvel Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) authorized the public notice requirement be posted of a proposed project to provide water and sewer lines west on Rogers Rd from FM 1128 to Pine St.  State law requires the public posting and a subsequent 60-day period for citizens to produce concerns they may have about the project.  The infrastructure improvement will provide capacity initially for the new location anticipated by the Manvel Seafood Restaurant, which will front SH 6 between Palmetto and Pine, generally across from Manvel city hall.  Currently located on SH 6 further west from the expected site, the restaurant has been eager for growth for some time to better accommodate its large crowds.  The current location provides insufficient capacity for an expansion.  In addition, the project would provide capacity to the next block that currently is owned by Manvel Development Company.  No specific plan has yet been identified for that parcel but as was indicated by its owner, Johnny Lowe, water and sewer are critical for any development to occur.  Other potential users proximate to the installation would gain benefit from the capacity as well.

 

The cost of the improvements is projected to be in the range of $240,000.  An additional requirement put on the restaurant that mandates a road be constructed along the back of the property will burden the business with another approximate $250,000 cost.  The MEDC was not asked to help with that infrastructure and did not consider it as part of the authorization.  It is not in a financial position to do so even if it were so inclined.  The matter did spark debate and it was intimated that if that cost is left to the restaurant alone it very likely will prevent the relocation from occurring.  Johnny Lowe, owner of the adjoining tract, described it as a road to nowhere.  In effect he is correct in that currently Rogers terminates at Palmetto and its extension would serve only to terminate it at empty lots one block farther to the west at Pine.

 

The overall budget for the new restaurant is just under $1 million.  The city’s mandates that the restaurant owner pay for the public infrastructure that is attached to the property will add nearly half again the cost to the project.  It is expected that the onerous city requirements will result in little alternative but for the restaurant to look elsewhere for its expansion.  As some in the business community espouse, perhaps the city council should consider a more sensible approach to meeting the infrastructure needs of the city rather than saddling private business with 100% of the burden.

 

In other MEDC news, the group continued its debate on a request from the Shu-Chem plant for assistance funding a $650,000 water line that is mandated in the Special Use Permit (SUP) the company was granted to accommodate their renovation and expansion plans.  Those plans call for $1 million to improve the current facility including significant aesthetic upgrades.  An additional $14 million will be invested in a new plant adding both jobs and taxable value to the city.  The plant currently is using well water and according to the company’s local administrator, the improvements, including the new plant, could be easily served in the same manner.  Essentially the city is requiring the water line be put in despite the fact the service is neither needed not wanted.  The $650,000 the MEDC is being asked to fund could otherwise go a long way to meeting real and immediate needs in the city.  While there is virtually no chance of the chemical plant relocating, this city mandate once again raises the question whether or not this costly obligation on the part of a private business to fund public infrastructure ultimately results in stifling economic development. 

 

Both requests are expected to be on the agenda once again for the March meeting, scheduled for March 9 at 7PM.  The MEDC holds its regular monthly meeting every second Wednesday and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.

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Council races set: Hanson decides against re-election

February 24, 2016

 

Two city council seats are up for election this year and will be decided by voters on May 7.  The Place 6 seat will be contested by incumbent Lew Shuffler and PD&Z member Jerome Hudson.  The Place 5 seat will be contested by former council member and current MEDC member Maureen DelBello and a new face to the local political scene, Melissa Sifuentes.

 

Melody Hanson, the current mayor pro-tem and the longest serving member on council other than Mayor Martin, decided against a re-election effort.  Hanson explained her decision:  “In May I will be stepping down as a member of Manvel City Council.   Last fall I decided that I would not be seeking re-election when my current term expires.  It was a tough decision.  I’ve enjoyed the collaborative nature of council deliberation.  I’ve learned a lot about municipal governance and even more about basic human nature.  I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but cognizant that there is more work yet to be done. 

 

This is an exciting time for Manvel.  Significant changes lie ahead.  That’s why continued cooperation between residents and civic leaders is so important.  I firmly believe that citizen involvement is the key to strong government.  Great communities just don’t happen; they require diligence and care.

 

The City of Manvel is blessed with amazing staff whose dedication made my job as a councilmember much easier.  Special commendation goes to Tammy Bell.  I could not have asked for a more competent and helpful city secretary.  Tammy is the glue that keeps City Council running smoothly.

 

I’d like to thank the voters for their confidence in me.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you these past six years.  It’s time to pass the baton.”

 

Early voting for the May 7 election will begin on April 25 and run through May 3.  District voters can now vote in any county precinct location, both during the early voting period and on election day.

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Police Chief clarifies story

February 24, 2016

 

Manvel’s Chief of Police took issue with last week’s report on the house fire experienced by city council member Adrian Gaspar.  In the story, Gaspar’s recounting was that a tanker truck from Iowa Colony was stopped by Manvel PD for running through a stop sign.  According to Traylor that never happened.  He felt the incorrect information set back years of effort on his part “to change the reputation of the department in the eyes of the community.”  His explanation of the incident follows: “I was the second on the scene and was there for most of the incident; I would have been the first but I blocked the Intersection of Masters and Jordan so the Manvel Pumper could safely clear the intersection.  That tanker was never stopped by any law enforcement official. The Sheriff’s Department Deputy had a conversation with the Assistant Chief from Iowa Colony for running a red light at over 100 MPH in the Departments Tahoe.  The Manvel Police Department helped the responding units and did not hinder their response.  I actually assisted the fire department until others arrived.”  This reporter apologizes for the inaccuracy.

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Alvin Community College requesting $88.5 million bond

February 24, 2016

 

In a move that may benefit Manvel with a campus to serve the west side of the Alvin Community College district, the school’s Board of Regents voted 8-1 to authorize an $88.5 million bond proposition for the May 7 elections.  The funds would provide for system-wide renovations and improvements, including facility upgrades and a new technical building at the Alvin campus.  It also would allow the purchase of  land and construction of a new building to serve the west side of the College’s taxing area.  Manvel is one of the proposed sites the college is considering for the new campus.  Much like the growth demands of the Alvin Independent School District (AISD), Alvin Community College is feeling the pressure to expand to the west side where the majority of the population growth has occurred and is projected to continue to do so in the future.  With the aggressive bond programs from AISD in recent years, some concern exists that bond fatigue could lead to a hard sell for the college.  As regent Mike Pyburn said, “Now it is up to the voters of the district to decide if they are in agreement with the proposal of our Long Range Facilities Planning Committee and the Board of Regents by casting their votes in May.”  If passed, the bond would increase the tax rate to property owners in an amount estimated at 6.99 cents per $100 of property value.  That translates to $10.20 per month on an average ACC home value of $175,000.

The lone no vote was cast by regent Mac Barrow.  In defending his opposition, he contends the bond proposal was “hurriedly put together” and “the board was left out of the loop until urgency of passage and timeline became critical.”  He is not entirely opposed to the notion of improving the college and emphasized he is for a new Technical Building  that will help meet the training needs of area industry.  He also is in favor of acquiring land for the future construction of a west side campus but he feels the timing now for a new building is premature.  He prefers starting with a “store front campus that can provide good data and reasons for building a new facility.”  Barrow does take issue with the notion that the existing campus is somehow unsafe.  He considers that description as “overstated” and reminded that the school spent approximately $8 million on “repairs, remodeling, and upgrading the campus after Hurricane Ike.”  He cited a consultant’s assessment that the 14 major campus buildings “are generally in good condition and well-maintained.”  He also raised concerns of the campus’ classroom utilization being very poor when compared to national standards.  Consultant’s determined the rate at approximately 36%, or 16 hours per week, compared with a goal of 65% and 32 hours per week.  He asks, “How can the taxpayers afford to have their buildings so underutilized?  What is the justification for building a new west side campus when we currently have so much underused space in Alvin?”  Though utilization may be low, college enrollment has seen increases in recent years.  Current enrollment statistics show a 7.36 percent increase in students in the spring semester compared to the 2015 semester and a 5.59 percent increase in contact hours in the same time frame.

The need for the bond and its amount was determined by a Long Range Facility Planning Committee appointed by the Board.  The committee consisted of community members and taxpayers who studied the conditions of current facilities, new and existing program space requirements, funding options, construction costs, tax impacts on homeowners, and a variety of scenarios to address the most pressing facility needs.  The group met regularly for several months and prioritized projects that were presented to the board in January for consideration.  Regents voted to put some of those projects on the ballot for voter consideration at the May 7 bond election.  “We are grateful to these committee participants who invested so much of their personal time to help us determine the best course of action regarding our facilities,” ACC Board Chairman Pete Nash said.  “Now, by calling this bond election the Board of Regents is asking voters to tell us whether or not they want to invest in their local community college.”

A new west side campus would be considered a boon to Manvel should the local site be selected.  Educational facilities and an ability to provide a trained workforce are key attributes when soliciting new business development to a community.  Any location on the west side, along with the soon to be constructed AISD Career and Technical Education facility at the previous Manvel Junior High, would well enhance the ability to provide new and existing workforce needs to regional industry.  The numerous students, visitors, and employees of the college would also provide a boost to local business and the resultant sales taxes it would generate.

Plans for the west side campus remain undetermined and in progress.  It is likely one building will be built initially to accommodate general purpose classrooms along with a science and computer lab and perhaps a multi-use healthcare lab.  A 10-year program anticipates additional facilities to be added as the need and ability to pay are realized.  College officials were unable to provide details on the timing of a the new campus but the expectation is that six to nine months of designing and planning time would be required and that 18-months would be required for construction.  The fall of 2018 is the current best prediction of when the campus would begin accepting students.

Alvin Community College originated in 1948 when voters in the Alvin Independent School District authorized its creation.  In 1971 a separate administration, tax district, and College Board was established to manage a newly created Alvin Junior College District. Up to that time the college’s management was borne by the school district.  Initially the college was part of Alvin High School and shared facilities with grades 11 through 14.  Alvin Community College moved to its present campus in the summer of 1963 with the construction of buildings to house Academics, Science, and a Student Center. In 1974 voters approved an expansion of the college district that nearly doubled its geographical size and in 1975 voters approved an $8 million bond issue that provided funding for the facilities that generally comprise the campus as it exists today.  The last bond issue approved by ACC voters was for $19.9 million in 2005 to construct a new Science/Health Science Building, which opened in 2007.  The Alvin campus today comprises 113 acres and 15 buildings. Enrollment has grown from 134 students in 1949 to more than 5,000 students today.

Early voting for the May 7 election will be April 25 to May 3.  District voters can now vote in any county precinct location, both during the early voting period and on election day.

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